Remembering War:
Warriors and Worldview

Memorial Day in the United States (since 1971 celebrated on the fourth Monday in May) commemorates the battle-fallen. This naturally turns our minds to war, which many argue, cannot be divorced from either the politics of its day or from the worldview of the cultures involved. Prussian military writer Carl von Clausewitz--and many since--believed that war is an extension of politics.

Thus, our mix of articles about wars from different periods of America's history and our emphasis on the philosophy and politico-sociology--i.e., the worldview of war. Eclectic by design and biblical at its foundation, this feature samples the broad sweep of America's conflicts and the feeling and thoughts of war. Some samples emanate from the experience of the veterans themselves, some from policymakers or those who would advise them, yet others from the popular culture and its critics.

Since warfare seems to be inevitable, judging from history, we do well to know our cultural and personal attitudes toward war--and peace. We hope our Special Focus helps you do just that.

Feature Articles:

World War Two Stories: The Hand of God
Myron Eberle
A World War II veteran recalls a battle that caused him to consider the most important things in life.

That Lousy War: Explaining Vietnam
Adam Garfinkle
A sweeping review of four contemporary books about Vietnam that offers glimpses of the times of antiwar protests and the war itself, the policies that fomented and sustained it and more.

Letter to Mrs. Bixby
Abraham Lincoln
President Lincoln's famous letter to Mrs. Bixby, who was believed to have lost five sons in the Civil War. The 1998 movie, Saving Private Ryan, subtly wove this letter into its storyline and actually seemed to spring partly from it.'

Bloody Footprints in the Snow
Faith & Freedom: The Christian Roots of American Liberty
"Faith & Freedom" examines the birth of the nation of the United States of America, exploring the rise of freedom and democracy in America. This chapter describes the turning points of General Washington's losses and victories at White Plains and Trenton. These accounts display the miraculous intervention of God and provide a backdrop to the forming of the American experiment in freedom.

Related Articles:

Does Christianity Cause War?
Review by James Turner Johnson
Johnson critiques Martin's brief against the prejudiced claim that Christian convictions foment militarism.

Onward Christian Soldiers? Christian Perspectives on War
Timothy J. Demy, Th.D. (Commander, Chaplain Corps, U.S. Navy)
What should be the Christian attitude and response to the death, destruction, and devastation caused by war? Is war moral, immoral, or amoral? This article explores a Christian perspective on involvement in war.

"Saving Private Ryan" and the U.S. Military Ethos
Mackubin Thomas Owens
The harsh realities of war portrayed in "Saving Private Ryan" demonstrate the importance of virtues associated with military heroism.

The Paradox of War and Pacifism
Mark T. Clark
This article examines the paradox of war and pacifism in the Bible, where paradox means apparent contradiction. The examination includes a review of the major positions Christians have taken on the paradox historically, from that of pacifism, to qualified participation, to the crusade.

Women in the Military
Issues Tearing Our Nation's Fabric
Chapter 25 of "Issues Tearing Our Nation's Fabric", exploring 25 key issues dividing the nation of America. This commentary-style chapter argues strongly against eschewing traditional roles of women in the military in deference to feminist ideals of women in combat will, in fact, denigrate women, while placing our nation more at risk.

The Illusions of Military Power
A.J. Bacevich
Bacevich analyzes the popular culture and political landscapes that provided context to the Cold War, Vietnam era, the Gulf War up to the mid-90s with a view toward the de facto U.S. role of Leader of the Free World. What is the ideal or at least the workable stance needed for U.S. military policy these days?

The Justice in Just War
Keith J. Pavlischek
Pavlischek explains Johnson's work on just war theory, its implication for moral reasoning about war and peace, and its application to contemporary foreign policy issues.

Saving "Private Ryan" from the Conservatives
Ken Masugi
Many conservatives criticized "Saving Private Ryan." Were their criticisms justified? Masugi writes, "How can a conventional liberal such as Spielberg make such an impressive movie? ...It is good that bad men are hypocrites. That is the only way they can be tolerated."

We would love to get your feedback on this special focus. Please tell us what you think.

Go here to see our past Special Focus features.